Locog denies rift with commercial partners

The Organising Committee for the London 2012 Olympic Games has denied there is any rift with its commercial partners. A planned meeting between London 2012 sponsors and Prime Minister Gordon Brown has led to speculation that sponsors are disenchanted.

Experts close to London 2012 say that the Chairman’s Club, a collective term for the chairmen and chief executives of London 2012’s domestic partners and the International Olympic Committee’s global partners, is not a new arrangement and is a “networking group” that has been in existence for at least six months.

The group is to meet with Gordon Brown at what is described as a “networking event” in December. Leaders from Locog’s partners Adidas, EDF Energy, BT, BA, BP and Lloyds TSB, as well as IOC partners Coca-Cola, Visa, General Electric, McDonald’s and Samsung are believed to be involved.

It has been suggested that the group was formed because London 2012’s partners are unhappy with Locog. But others say the group exists simply to allow partners to work together to get a better return on their investment.

One source says: “Some of London 2012’s partners may be unhappy but that is more to do with them having made massive investments that they now have to recoup in a down-market, as opposed to the up-market there was at the time of investment. It is true, though, that Locog is not always involved in their meetings. The meeting with Gordon Brown is just one way of helping to ensure everyone is onside.”

EDF Energy says: “Partners meet regularly both formally and informally with each other and with Locog to discuss opportunities which will be of benefit to the partnership and to the Games. EDF enjoys a very good relationship with Locog and the other partners.”

Locog says the existence of the Chairman’s Club is not an indication its sponsors are unhappy. “We have a strong relationship with all our partners and are as committed to maximising the value of their partnerships as they are.”

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